Slice of Life: Self Talk

I don’t know; I said when asked where I wanted my daughter to go to college.

Taken aback, my mom said, “I always had an opinion on what I wanted for you kids.”

I know what she meant, she wanted us close and safe and happy. And of course, I want all of that for my daughter.

“Every college is a plane trip and time zones away. So close isn’t possible.”

“So location aside, where do you want her to go?”

I don’t know; I say again. My ideas might be entirely wrong, so I have to go with what and where she feels is best.

My mom looks at me and shakes her head, wondering how in the world I could be her child.  She has adhered to the belief that if a parent sets up expectations and provides consistent support towards those expectations, then the outcome will be the expectation. This philosophy has merit, and I’ve attempted it.

One clear expectation was to become an independent thinker. I’m afraid my daughter took to that idea. She’s reaching to places that are far from home. And that’s good. I keep telling myself.

It’s her life; she needs to make choices and create her expectations and failures. And that’s good. I keep telling myself.

She knows she has support at home if needed. That allows her to reach beyond. I am thankful she can and has the bravery to try. And that’s good. I keep telling myself.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers Blog for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Find more slices here.





26 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Self Talk

  1. “Your children are not your children….” Kahlil Gibran said that as I recall. I’ve always heeded those words…for some reason they spoke to me. Consequently I’ve let mine go to do things like live in the bush in Africa at age 16 or explore the coast of Australia during college. Now my daughter wants to go to Borneo to see orangutans before they disappear…testing me once again. You’re doing a wonderful thing by allowing your daughter to make her own choices without “directing” her toward them. After all, you’ve “got her back” if things don’t work out!

  2. Julieanne, I commend you for being such a supportive mom and be open about your daughter’s choices. It is difficult to cut the cord but it is a necessary step if we want our children to become independent thinkers. College is a big step for young adults.

  3. I also wrote about my children today and as a new empty nester, many of the thoughts you expressed are familiar. I really enjoyed how you chose to share your process by using dialogue between you and your mother and the repeated refrain, “And that’s good. I keep telling myself.” You’ve equipped your daughter well to head out and live her life to the fullest. Congratulations to both of you.

  4. Julianne, We moved from Portland, OR to Birmingham, AL after my divorce and my son desperately wanted to go back west to school. When we began looking, his only criteria was “no where in the south.” As we looked around and visited, he ended up choosing a school in South Carolina that is only 5 hours away by car and in the South. I’m now going through the same journey with my daughter. She wants to head back west and wants “anywhere but the South”, but as she reads about school and adds them to her list, she has actually put two schools on her list that are only 2 – 3 hours away in Tennessee and Georgia; the rest are in Pennsylvania which are doable for me:) I agree with you – they have to make their own choices, after all, they are the ones who have to live it. Sometimes the best thing we can do as parents is keep our opinions to ourselves, and let our children be independent thinkers and decision-makers:)

  5. As I read I am waiting to drop one daughter off at Disney for an internship and then put our other daughter on the plane for Alabama and we live in Ohio! It’s tough for us all, but I keep reminding us all we will be okay. Nothing is forever and these young women have lives to construct and it’s time for us to leave them to it!
    I moved to Japan at age 19 and didn’t return until age 23. I can’t imagine my life without this experience!

  6. Julieanne, So hard to let go of the intimacy of daily life with your child. But with the letting go it makes room for this fascinating young adult to share not dreamed of experiences with you. Now for a humorous take on this process and this is a true story. When my oldest went aways to school I went to bed and cried for an hour (really). I missed and missed him and could not wait for Thanksgiving. By the time Thanksgiving break was over I was so happy he was going back to school!

  7. Oh my friend, I wish I had words of comfort for you! I’m not a mom, but if I were, I wish I’d be just like you. Encouraging your daughter to be independent!! What a gift you’ve given to her! She has a great mom and she will be ok…and so will you! I believe it!

  8. I had a hard time when my baby went to Chicago. She is closer to home now. They come back to you. It’s important to give them wings and roots. You are giving both. And just think, if she choses Louisiana, we will see each other more often. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  9. I agree with everyone above, Julieanne, and love the thoughtful conversation between your mother and you. Taking risks and doing what one thinks is best for self is what everyone should want for their children. It gives them an armor for the future. Wishing the best to your daughter wherever she chooses, and hugs to you for supporting that.

  10. Like you, my parents offered me the wings to fly when it came time for college. I landed up just four hours away in Washington, DC. I couldn’t bear being that far away from home. But everyone is different.

  11. Julieanne, I admire the way you are handling this life change. I can’t even imagine myself in your shoes… yet I know I will be in the blink of an eye. When I left for college my mom kept saying to herself, “It’s time.” She was convincing herself I guess. Whatever decision your daughter makes will be the right one.

  12. It’s so hard to see our kids grow up and make life changing choices. I think it’s awesome that you are giving your daughter the space to make a choice and the support she needs to make it.

  13. They have to live their own life, you are allowing her to do this. It’s not easy, especially when it’s not the life you had as an expectation, but it works out in the end. Best of luck to your daughter and you as she makes her decision.

  14. Seeing Elsie’s comment reminds me of the conversation I with her this past summer at All Write. I have found comfort in her words this past semester as my son started his first year of college. I have done much self talk these past four years too. Raising almost-adult children is certainly a challenge. Is she looking in Indiana by any chance?

  15. It is soooo hard isn’t it? Our oldest has it down to 2 schools. One is about an hour away and the other 3 hours. Thinking of how different life will be 8 months from now stresses me out a little. It’s funny to think how different it is being on the mom side of the issue. As a High School senior, I remember feeling totally prepared. 😉

  16. There is no way for anyone to warn a mom what it is like to wait for a child to decide on a university and move away. The children worry much less than the parents. Your self talk is helpful. I should have spoken more to myself last summer to worry less. I know she enjoys her freshman life away from home and I enjoy each time she comes home.

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